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Self Treatment

Back Pain

This is very common and usually follows awkward lifting or bending. Lying on a firm surface with a pillow under the knees can help as can paracetamol or ibuprofen. Consult a doctor if the pain persists, if the pain goes down the leg or there is a sudden difficulty in passing water or opening the bowels.

Burns

Immediately apply large quantities of cold water to the affected area and maintain this until the pain starts to subside (this can be up to 15 minutes). Apply cling film, if extensive. If the skin is blistered or the affected area large, or if the burn has happened to a child, it is usually advisable to attend hospital as soon as possible for further assessment.

Colds

Even in this day and age there is still no magic cure for the common cold. It is important to take plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids. Avoid physical exercise. If you have a headache or are feverish, take aspirin (NOT children under 16) or paracetamol regularly as per the directions. As it is a virus that causes the cold, antibiotics have no place in the treatment.

Sore Throat

Viruses cause most sore throats and antibiotics cannot help. Simple treatment with paracetamol and gargles with salt water will help.

Cough

Again, most coughs are due to viruses. The best treatment is often steam inhalation to soothe the throat. For small children a steamy room, such as the kitchen or bathroom is appropriate. Antibiotics will have no effect but simple cough linctuses from you local pharmacy may help to relieve the symptoms.

Diarrhoea And Vomiting

This almost always has a viral cause. Antibiotics are very rarely helpful and can actually make things worse. It is important to drink small amounts of fluids often in order to replace fluid loss. (Water, diluting squash or fizzy drinks allowed to go flat are ideal replacement fluids, but fresh juice and milk should be avoided.) Diarrhoea in very young children and babies need careful attention. Most babies have loose bowel movements during the first six months due to their predominantly liquid diet. Taking the baby off solids and, in the case of bottle-fed babies, by reducing the strength of the feed to a quarter or half strength, should be effective in treating sudden bouts of unusually watery diarrhoea. Breast-fed babies should be offered either water or juice. If vomiting or weakness accompanies the symptoms, or if the symptoms are not improving within 24 hours, consult your doctor.

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